Chapter 18: Group Work: Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Clients Introduction to Group Work, 5th Edition Edited by David Capuzzi, Douglas R. Gross, and Mark D. Stauffer
Understanding Terminology • It is advisable to use the following terms with care or avoid them altogether: • Homosexual (reflects inaccurately narrow, clinical focus on sexual conduct) • Homoerotic (narrow and incomplete) • Sexual preference (implies a choice was made) • Sexual orientation (suggests that sexual predisposition is innate without taking into account environmental cues or social learning) • Gay (as a noun tends to make lesbians and bisexuals feel invisible; also obscures the unique identities of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals) • Bisexuality (is sometimes considered a nonentity or a transitional stage when really it is a unique identity)
Definition of Terms • Heterosexism: This refers to a set of political assumptions that empowers heterosexual persons, especially heterosexual white males, and excludes people who are openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual from social, religious, and political power. • Homophobia: This is an attitude of fear and loathing towards individuals perceived to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual. • Internalized homophobia: Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals often internalize the negative assumptions, attitudes, and prejudice common in the dominant culture. • Counselor homophobia: Some counselors still believe the goal of counseling is to change sexual orientation from gay to straight.
Cultural Trends • Gay affirmative counseling: Counselors who are sensitive to sexual orientation issues and who have examined and challenged their own heterosexist and homophobic attitudes are in a powerful position to help gays, lesbians, and bisexuals recognize and accept their sexual identity, improve their interpersonal and social functioning, and value themselves while living in a heterosexual society. • Gay, lesbian, and bisexual professional counselors: Until the late 1980s, it was assumed in the United States that heterosexuality was the only suitable orientation for counselors. Today, the number of publicly identified gay, lesbian, and bisexual counselors is growing.
Groups and Organizations in the Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Community • Common-interest groups • Self-help groups • Counseling groups
Examples of Counseling Groups • Coming-out groups • Youth groups (e.g., suicide, coming out, the Los Angeles Program, leaders) • Couples groups (e.g., models for gender-specific groups, domestic violence) • Parenting groups (e.g., gay parents, parents of gay children, children with gay parents) • Drug and alcohol abuse groups • HIV/AIDS groups (e.g., support groups for PLWAs, families, and friends; counseling groups for PLWAs; see chapter for a model of a 7-session group for gay men recently diagnosed as HIV positive) • Groups for older gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals • Personal growth groups